Crop Health

Our scientists conduct research and development studies to identify ways to improve crop health, yield, efficiency and value. In addition we offer a suite of resources, testing facilities and expertise to help industry to develop sustainable solutions.

Crop Health

We care about the world and the environment.  We’re driven by a need to address important global issues such as sustainably feeding a growing population and security challenges. That’s why we use our original thinking and innovation in developing early stage detection to solve the big issues facing the agri-food industry.

Undertaking high quality research and monitoring to provide robust evidence, solutions and advice on the epidemiology and control of plant diseases in agriculture, horticulture and the natural environment is at our core.

With over 100 years experience of delivering pest and disease identification services to a wide range of commercial growers and Government departments, both in the UK and overseas, we understand the needs of our customers.

To nurture healthy plants and crops, increasing food productivity sustainably and protect the environment our work focuses on strategic research into the biology and control of diseases of agricultural, horticultural and tree health importance. A key theme for us is in disease surveillance and risk forecasting which is strongly supported by our expertise and specialist knowledge in epidemiology, pathogen and disease identification, molecular diagnosis, spatial aspects of disease spread, knowledge management and transfer.

The team is dedicated to the development of technologies that enable stakeholders to make decisions across the agri-food chain and in the environment. Our interest is in the application of generic solutions such as PCR, isothermal amplification and next generation sequencing techniques. In particular we have considerable expertise in developing diagnostics for front line use.

We work with growers, agronomists and Defra developing methods to enable better detect of plant pathogens in propagation material, soil, water and air. Early detection of pathogens in crops enables us to initiate control measures much earlier, preventing spread and reducing the impact of disease.

We offer the most comprehensive range of testing services and are the UK's largest tester of crop health testing in excess of 8,500 samples a year.

Our recently delivered solutions:

  • Testing of approved fungicides and novel control methods for efficacy against a range of plant pathogens including quarantine pathogens such as Phytophthora ramorum and Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus (the cause of ash dieback)
  • Specialist field trials to assess efficacy of fungicides against Fusarium ear blight
  • Field trials to determine optimal timing and dose of fungicides against Fusarium ear blight
  • Monitoring for resistance in impatiens downy mildew
  • Early season forecasts of national and regional Septoria leaf blotch severity in wheat crops and daily updates on risk of infection from the four major foliar pathogens
  • Monitoring of invasive pathogen spread using spore trapping and bait plants

Pathology R&D

Fera provides research and development for a wide range of government departments and authorities, as well as commercial businesses, farmers and growers. Our pathology research capabilities include:

  • Biology and behaviour research
  • Mite Services and nuisance insects
  • Developing new chemical and biological pesticides
  • Developing integrated pest-management strategies
Our Pathology R&D Capabilities

Crop Testing

Looking for the Plant Clinic? You are in the right place. We handle in excess of 8,500 samples a year. We offer the most comprehensive range of testing services for all sectors throughout the supply chain.

  • Potatoes
  • Field Vegetables
  • Ornamentals
  • Mushrooms
  • Arable Crops
  • Soft Fruit
  • Seeds
Browse Our Tests

Grower Support Tools

Fera has developed a range of tools, online databases and technology to support farmers and growers, to help the agricultural industry produce more crops to feed an ever-growing population more efficiently whilst using fewer resources and pesticides.

Crop monitor

Live monitoring of untreated crops & diseases updates

In field diagnostics

Rapid in field testing for crop pests & pathogens (Genie III)


UK & EU pesticide approvals, label information and maximum residue levels.


Global database of pesticide approvals and maximum residue levels.

Crop R&D

Fera provides a host of targeted research and development activities to help governments, policymakers, agricultural and horticultural businesses, farmers and growers tackle the increase in risks and threats. Our scientific expertise and research cover the identification, risk assessment, monitoring and control of the key pests and pathogens affecting crops and plants (both quarantine and non-quarantine).

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Soil Health Unit

By helping to understand how different soil properties influence the development and spread of pests and diseases, we are helping farmers and the industry to develop more effective soil-management strategies to mitigate the risks. This will also help crop-protection companies to develop more effective control products, based on a greater understanding of pesticide behaviour in different types of soil.

  • Improve soil-management practices to combat crop pests and diseases.
  • Understand pesticide behaviour in different soil conditions.
  • Develop more effective control measures for different soil types.
  • Soil Health, Pathogen Disease and Potato Testing
Explore our Soil Health Unit

Insect monitoring

Our insect monitoring capabilities provide the information to assess virus transmission risk helping growers to target insecticide applications more accurately to reduce costs and waste, optimise resources and improve yields.

Our Insect Monitoring Services